With 2013 coming to a close before we know it, I wanted to take an entry to thank everyone who supported me, helped me, and ballhawked with (or against) me over the course of this year. Last year, I crammed this into my 2012 in Review post, which turned out to be VERY long. This time, I am breaking it into 2 posts.
First, I need to thank some A’s Fans… My FANily
There are so many people that deserve thanks in Right Field as well as people that I have met around the stadium, and I can’t possibly talk about every single one of them. However, I can list them and give you their Twitter account if they have one, so you can go follow them. Seriously, take a moment and follow some of these people on Twitter. I promise you will not regret it. I tried to list everyone that I could possibly think of, so I apologize if I accidentally left you out. Every one of these people encouraged me supported me and was friendly, even if I interacted with them once, or seemingly every game…
Omar Gonzalez, Adam Olson, Bea Soria, Rebekah Allender, Sylvester Valderrama, Daniel Schlimmer, Ross Retzler, Drew Martin, Yuichiro Sato, Amanda Saxer, Samuel Ligosky, James Sanos, Ralliney Marpaung, Carlos Soria, Michael Stryer, Rodrigo, Bryanne Aler, Will MacNeil, Ethan Kassel, Keith Salminen, Wiggi, Liza Elikofer, Kelli Cordeiro, Vanessa Demske, Andy Cho, Erica O’Dell, Jeffery Smith, Taylor Fernandez, Jessica Franco, Wes Mills, Omar Gutierrez, Bridget Haney, Mike Davie, Dennis Biles, Steven Luke, Adam Kadourhe, Arlene Safer, Tony Cogley, Jorge Leon, Benjamin Christensen, Devyn Christy, Daniel Schlimmer, Ian Sagabaen, Gustav Davila, Tyler Burton, Megan Benveniste, Rick Arens, Cara Miller, Eric Nelson, and Anson Casanares.
Wow. That’s a long list. Those were just 51 people that came to my mind right away. However, out of those 51 people, 4 stood out to me as particularly friendly, encouraging, helpful, and supportive. They are people that you DEFINITELY should follow on Twitter, if you don’t already.
Will MacNeil: Will has been without a doubt one of my greatest friends this past year. I got to know him very well this past season, which was incredibly special for me. It’s kind of cool that you can tell people that you know the creator of the Balfour Rage. Will says that he isn’t famous, but when you are name-dropped on ESPN and throw out the first pitch at an A’s game, you clearly must be important. Will always runs the banners and flags in to right field, from the gate, so it was cool to be able to do that a few times, when he wasn’t there. He always encouraged me and supported me this past season, thanking me for my writing, or my family for the photos that we take. It’s been a lot of fun sitting in right field, and Will was a huge part of that. I cannot thank him enough for how kind he was to my family. Plus, he’s a really cool guy to be around.
Ross Retzler: Ross was the first person from Right Field that introduced himself, late last season. He has always been incredibly friendly and genuinely interesting to talk to. He is a huge A’s fan, so it was definitely a fun time sitting in the seat behind him for all 3 games of the ALDS. Ross was always helpful when it came to any question I had regarding the A’s or bleachers, and encouraged me all season long. He also took the photo of me and my dad, as well as the one of me and my sister during the ALDS, that is in a below collage. He was always talking with my family too and got to know them really well. I can only think of 1 A’s game this year that I was at that Ross wasn’t. That right there shows his dedication to Oakland and the A’s.
Vanessa Demske: I first got to know Vanessa early into the 2013 season, and once she found out about my blog and ballhawking, she was incredibly supportive and encouraging. This past summer, she interviewed me for an article for More Than a Fan, called Hawking for History. Vanessa is into my collection, which means a lot, because someone other than myself thinks it is cool! She was one of the first person in the bleachers to know my sister as Pascale, not “Nick’s sister,” which was really cool for Pascale. Given that Vanessa was at a lot of the same games that I was this year, I got to know her really well, which was a true pleasure!
Adam Olson: Adam designed my blog’s logo and I cannot thank him enough. It likely would have taken me days to create a logo like he did, while it only took him a few hours. He also gave me his tickets to the April 29th game, and had it not been for him, I wouldn’t have been able to go to, what I am considering at this point, the best game I have ever been to.
Let’s move on to Ballhawks…
There are many ballhawks or baseball die-hards that I either met in person or on Twitter that I would like to thank. Again, I apologize if I did not include you on this list.
Zack Hample, Todd Cook, Ballhawk Shawn, Rick Gold, Malcom MacMillan, Paul Kom, Mateo Fischer, Dave Edlund, Steve Garrison, “Clarence Darrow”, Joe Webster, Ryan Dalton, Spencer Sanborn, Quinn Imiola, Harrison Tishler, Alan Schuster, Rick Sporic, Tony Voda, Erik Jabs, Chris Hernandez, and Avi Miller.
Those 21 people all had an influence on me in one way or another this past year. However, 3 Bay Area ballhawks stood out to me that I want to thank.
Ryan Dalton: Ryan was more supportive and encouraging of my ballhawking and blogging than anyone else. Every time I’ll post an entry, he retweets it and lets me know what he thought of it. Any time we are at the same game, he is usually there around the same time as me, if not earlier. It was great to be able to be close to someone and compete against them ballhawking, but also to be able to ballhawk with them. You have no clue how good Ryan is at identifying players. He can tell who just about any guy is during BP, even if there is no name or number to identify them. Any time I got shut out, Ryan probably got shut out too. When I snagged a lot of balls at a Minor League Game, chances are, he did too. Plus, he was incredibly friendly with my family, which was great.
Spencer Sanborn: Spencer is a very talented ballhawk. Any time I had a question about ballhawking at the Coliseum or AT&T Park, I immediately went to him. All of his tips or suggestions ended up paying off for me! He was the one that told me about the no-giveaway gate in San Francisco. He also assisted me in the planning of BallhawkFest:Bay Area. In the few times I got to talk to him in person this season, Spencer was very interesting to talk to and I got to know him well.
“Clarence Darrow”: Clarence Darrow was a lawyer in the early 1900’s. However this is just an alias on Twitter for a very talented ballhawk. Nobody on Twitter knows what he looks like, what his name is, or has even met him. However, I am privileged to have met him at baseball games a handful of times. He’s interesting to talk to and given his experience ballhawking, he always has great stories to share. Plus, he is an incredibly talented ballhawk with a very simple, but useful ball retrieval device. Plus, he is always encouraging with my blogging, which is very helpful!
Now, I want to thank some other baseball people.
Outside of ballhawks that I have met and my A’s FANily, there are other people in baseball that supported and encouraged me tremendously this year and were a big part of who I am now.
The entire Granada High Baseball Team: Even though I wasn’t a player on the team, every one of those guys made me feel like it. They were all great to be around and supported my ballhawking and this blog.
Mr. Hahn: He was and still is incredibly supportive of my ballhawking and blogging. He is the reason my blog gained popularity at my school and had it not been for him, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Even though I am not in any of his classes this year, I still stop by his room often to talk or share something with him.
Mike on the Mic: This dude loves what he does. Every day, he goes out there with the same passion. He makes Nuts games fun and entertaining beyond the game itself. He loves the fact that I ballhawk and he is awesome with my uncle, which is huge to me.
Bess and Seth Frankoff: Every time I was at a Ports game and he saw me, Seth made sure to say hello and thank me for my support. He genuinely is a great person and he had an amazing season this past year. Bess has been beyond nice to me and my family and supported my blog and writing. She’s been a great friend on Twitter and to talk to at games. They were incredibly nice enough to leave my family tickets to a couple of games. I feel very fortunate to know these great people and have a jersey of Seth’s.
Lastly, I need to thank my Family.
My parents, Anne and Dan Badders have been INCREDIBLY supportive this past year. They made the decision to have our family get a small season ticket plan last winter. For the 2014 season, we have a larger season ticket package, so that all 4 of us can go to many more games together. My mom and dad put up with all of my craziness with ballhawking, blogging, and baseball in general this past season. They took me to games, purchased tickets, and were willing to get to the stadium hours before anyone else. They’ve documented every game with a camera or two, and they are a huge reason that I am able to go to games, ballhawk, and write this blog. THANK YOU Mom and Dad!
My sister, Pascale, has been just as supportive, if not more supportive than my parents this year. She doesn’t just put up with my craziness, she supports it and is right there along side me. In 2012, she wasn’t as excited to go to baseball games as I hoped, but this year, SHE was always the first one in the car, she always ran inside the stadium alongside me. I loved to be able to share my love of the game with her, something I was very fortunate to be able to do. When my parents didn’t want to get up and go somewhere at a stadium, she always did. Pascale was eager to spend time with me at baseball games, and I loved that. And guess what? She was finally able to snag her first ball ever this season! THANK YOU Pascale!
I could write a paragraph on any person that I listed at any point in this entry. However, I don’t have the time or energy to do so. Every person that I talked about here had a positive affect on my life this year. I appreciate the support and encouragement from everyone this year, whether it be with my ballhawking, writing, or this blog. You all are the reason that I do this. Thank YOU.
Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.